It is unfortunate, but our society is experiencing a major health concern with the abuse of opioid medications. It is a very complex issue and in order to identify the causes takes a very multi-angled approach. The solution to the epidemic, an even greater multi-angled approach.
Many of us in Pain Management have although begun to do the necessary work in finding not only alternatives, but better ways to administer medication. One of these newer ways of administering medications is called "Intrathecal Drug Delivery".
Intrathecal Drug Delivery, also known as the "Pain Pump", uses a small pump to deliver pain medication directly to your spinal cord. The pump is surgically placed under the abdominal skin and delivers pain medication through a catheter to the area around your spinal cord.
The effectiveness of this lies in the direct application of pain medication to the source of the pain. When taking oral medication, it must first travel through the stomach, the liver, and the entire circulatory system before finally arriving at its desired location. Along the way, a lot of collateral damage can be done to the body causing a wide range of issues from hormonal imbalances to those other crazy side effects we love to hear on medication commercials.
The data collected from those who have tried this treatment have shown to be promising:
"So far the numbers have shown that this administer of pain medication is quite effective in reducing the use opioid medication.
Prior to having intrathecal drug delivery systems installed, the average daily dosage in oral morphine equivalents was 340 mg per day, and the median was 240 mg per day. Fifty-seven percent of patients required more than 200 mg per day, and 19% required more than 500 mg per day.
The average dropped to 19 mg per day post-installation, with a median of 0 mg per day (82.6% used 0 mg per day; another 11.0% used <100 mg per day). In a previous study by the authors in a similar population, the mean dosage of intrathecal morphine was 8.6 mg per day and the median was 3.6 mg per day."
-David C. Holzman, painmedicinenews.com
It is great to see that moves are being made in order to combat this epidemic we have in our society. With the increase of technology and knowledge of the body, it is certainly a very exciting time to be alive to witness the ingenuity of those that are aiming to improve our way of treating chronic pain.